As a parent of two small children, I find myself pontificating about things I never have before. Where my life formerly centered around friends, Friday nights and shopping, I now think more about the environment, my children’s health and how to get milk gob off of my clothes.
This leads into my pet peeve of the decade topic…consumer goods packaging, specifically, the packaging that accompanies children’s toys and crafts. I recently bought my daughter a doll that came with so much more than just a toy brush and hair clips. I realized this was truly a gift of copious amounts of cardboard, plastic clips, metal ties and glossy (toxic?) paint. After extricating the doll from the cardboard sheath and plastic clips and all the while wondering if an engineering degree and blow torch would have sped the process up, I realized I had more packaging than toy! I have to ask myself what I am sure thousands of parents around the world have thought at one time or another. “Is this good for the environment?”, “Is it setting a good example for my children?”, “Doesn’t the packaging add unnecessary costs to a simple toy?”.
So now I have to ask myself why manufacturers do this when it is so obviously wrong on many levels. My personal conclusion was disturbing and embarrassing. The companies that make and market these toys do this because of me! Lavishly packaged toys sell more units because I buy them. I didn’t buy the plain cotton doll; I bought this plastic and glitzy cardboard encased monstrosity. Take your children to the toy store and they automatically gravitate towards the shiniest, brightest and exciting looking toys on the shelf. Unwrap it at home however and it just becomes another plaything with all the rest.
Some recommendations to help you around this issue are:
1) Buy the toys you like but write a letter (email) to the manufacturer and ask them to change their packaging.
2) Boycott toys with excessive packaging and let your friends know too.
3) Buy eco friendly toys. There are many great brands out there….